AMD creates external graphics box for notebooks

Gaming has always been an iffy vocation for notebooks. Sure, you can get laptops with speedy graphics processors, but those GPUs often can't be upgraded once they become obsolete. That's a problem AMD is attempting to solve with its new ATI External Graphics Platform, which puts the GPU in a box outside the notebook and connects the two via a cable-based, eight-lane PCI Express 2.0 connection.

AMD says the link between the XGP and the notebook transfers up to 4GB/s in each direction, which is about the same as a typical PCIe 1.1 x16 link in a desktop PC. As a result, the XGP can play host to Mobility Radeon HD 3800 mobile GPUs in single or CrossFire X multi-GPU configurations. The XGP module also makes things easy for the end user by featuring its own power supply and cooling, not to mention hot-plugging capability that "enables ATIXGP technology on-the-fly." Each XGP module can team up with a compatible notebook to drive as many as four displays, and there's even USB 2.0 connectivity built-in to hook up TV tuners, Blu-ray drives, or just a mouse and keyboard.

The Amilo GraphicsBooster. Source: Fujitsu-Siemens.

Nevertheless, the company has already gotten a partner to announce an XGP device. Fujitsu-Siemens' Amilo GraphicsBooster packs a Mobility Radeon HD 3870 with 512MB of GDDR3 RAM with DVI, HDMI, and USB 2.0 connectivity, all in a box measuring 7.1" x 5.1" x 1.3" (180 x 130 x 33.5 mm) and weighing 1.1 lbs (500 g). The GraphicsBooster is designed to accommodate Fujitsu-Siemens' new Puma-based Amilo Sa 3650 notebook, which has a 13.3" display, Turion Ultra processor, and Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics.

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